Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few.” (2. Kings 4:3)

There were three main people in the Bible through whom God worked miracles: Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus. They shared a striking similarity: they began and ended their ministries with provisional miracles.

Elijah’s first miracle is recorded in 1. Kings 17, when he prayed and the rain stopped. Three years later, he prayed and it rained. That’s provision. His last miracle occurred when he parted the Jordan River. He needed to get across and he didn’t have a boat, so he parted the waters by striking them with his mantle, and provided himself access to the other side. That too was a provisional miracle.Elisha began his ministry with a provisional miracle—the same kind that concluded Elijah’s ministry. He also parted the Jordan River. His last provisional miracle is in 2 Kings 6. In Samaria, people of the city were starving to death. Elisha said by the Spirit of God, “Tomorrow at this time, you can find anything you want.” In a miraculous act of provision, God used four lepers to plunder the enemy’s camp and take everything they needed. This was Elisha’s last miracle.

Jesus also began and ended His earthly ministry with provisional miracles. At the wedding feast in Cana and when He was on the shore, watching Peter and some others fishing, when He called out Peter, “Throw your net out the other side.” Peter caught 153 fish. Divine intervention prospered Peter’s business.

God always performs provisional miracles first—before He performs the physical miracles. The very first miracle recorded in Genesis is provisional. God created the world and everything in it before He created man. God didn’t physically create man first and then temporarily suspend him in space while He made provision for him. No! God made provision for man first, then He created him.

Physical miracles always produce an increase. If no provision is made for that increase first, then the increase will be lost. Do you see how that pertains to the harvest? In Acts 3:7, one man was healed. As a result, 5,000 people were added to the church (Acts 4:4). Physical miracles produce increase. But what would happen if you had a miracle without the proper provision to handle that increase?

There was a widow woman who came to Elisha for help. Her husband had died, she couldn’t pay her bills and her two sons were to be sold into slavery. Her situation was serious. She needed provision, and asked the prophet what to do. He responded: “What do you have?” God will work a miracle with what you have, not with what you don’t have. Just give Him what you have. He’ll multiply it and keep it pouring as long as you have a place for Him to fill. The whole kingdom of God works on farming principles. A farmer isn’t going to run all over the community saying, “Would somebody please give me some corn?” Of course not. He is going to take the corn he has, plow a field and plant his seed. And then the harvest will come. The harvest you desire in your own life will come the same way—by seeding, not by pleading!